Care recipients’ physical frailty is independently associated with subjective burden in informal caregivers in the community setting: a cross-sectional study
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BACKGROUND: Physical frailty is associated with significant morbidity and mortality in community-dwelling older adults. Burden in informal caregivers of older adults causes significant physical and psychological distress. However, the relationship between these two clinical phenomena has not been extensively studied. This cross-sectional study evaluated the relationship between physical frailty of community-dwelling older adults attending an outpatient geriatric clinic and the subjective burden reported by their informal caregivers. METHODS: We measured the following characteristics of 45 patient-caregiver dyads attending an outpatient geriatric assessment clinic: Physical frailty using the Fried Frail Scale (FFS); self-reported independence in activities of daily living (ADL) using the Katz Index; clinical diagnosis of dementia; and subjective caregiver burden using the short 12-item version of the Zarit Burden Interview (ZBI). Multivariable linear regression was performed with FFS, Katz Index score, gender, age, and diagnosis of dementia as independent variables, and ZBI score as the dependent variable. RESULTS: Only physical frailty significantly predicted caregiver burden (β = 8.98 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.15, 15.82). CONCLUSIONS: Physical frailty is independently associated with caregiver burden in a population of community-dwelling older adults. Despite limitations related to sample size and lack of data about caregiver characteristics, this study suggests that the relationship between physical frailty and caregiver burden merits further study.
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